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A new format for a film series

Introduction to context

For centuries, Istanbul has been at the crossroads of civilisations. Migrants from all over the world have found here their new home and contributed to its culture. In the spring 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed a large number of people from the region to settle here. The newcomers are thinking about a better future that lies beyond war and destruction and are looking to build something new through mutual support, cooperation, and friendship. 


Albeit suffering from an economic downturn, Istanbulites greet them with open hearts and minds. Providing a safe haven in this time of great suffering, Istanbul has a unique atmosphere where history and modernity intertwine, ideas flow freely, and energies synchronise. The time is ripe for creating something together.


©Ivan Erofeev

Series concept


Istanbul is both a hub and a meeting point for poets, artists, filmmakers, and intellectuals who visit the city, come here to live, or simply cannot bypass it in their travels. Talking with these people is a unique privilege. The conversation flows freely, there is no need to force any subjects, everyone has a lot to say about many things. One needs to listen and observe as previous generations of documentary filmmakers taught us.


In the summer of 1960, as France was conducting “an order-maintaining operation” in Algiers, Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin asked Parisians a simple question: Comment vis-tu? (How do you live?). The answers led to a milestone in film history giving birth to an entire new genre of filmmaking known as Cinema Verité. Rouch and Morin followed up with their subjects to create a film called A Chronicle Of A Summer, which inspired a wide array of screen phenomena from the French New Wave to reality TV.


As the summer of 2022 is taking its course, we cannot help making historical parallels without, of course, drawing any conclusions, which lie in a future covered with the impenetrable fog of war. For now, all we need to do is ask simple, personal, and emotional questions and carefully listen and observe. We will walk through the streets of Istanbul with the people who are, in our opinion, possess the clues to this changing world around us. Some of them are our friends, others are people we know through their work and public stance. We will talk with them about their work and interests, and about what we all know and love, which are cinema, art, philosophy, and culture in general.


We regard this activity as an experimental form of on-camera scriptwriting. Although the conversations will develop in accordance with a predetermined plan, we will welcome spontaneous reflexion, reactions, and happy coincidences that will give a lively and uninhibited course to the entire series. Rather than staging scripted scenes we will create situations in which something new and unexpected can occur allowing for a reality beyond conversation and critical investigation to manifest itself. 


Art by AhhA



Looking for a way out of the extreme polarisation and partisanship, we tread carefully towards an artistic alternative to global divisions. Rather than making a political film, we will make our film politically to approach the pressing issues of our time through the unifying lens of arts and culture. Well aware of the shortcomings of dominant political discourses, we will strive to offer a humanist perspective based on the values of love, cooperation, and mutual support, all that without disregarding the suffering scattered around the world, particularly the one caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


As our predecessors of the post WWI and WWII avant-gardes have taught us, art has an important role to play in the construction of a new society. Albeit disempowered in the past decades, artists, in this time of far-reaching change, must take conscience of their agency and use the fragile forces of culture to heal and restore trust and mutual understanding that have been lost in the global turmoil.

The series host


The three members of AVRORA - Dimitri, Khollisy, and AhhA will be the series regular hosts. Being in the prime of their intellectual and artistic abilities, they are lively, articulated, joyful, educated, and fluent in several languages. Not alien to all things DADA, they enjoy language games, spontaneous performances, and occasional intellectual conversation. More than anything they abhor boredom and prefer to fill every minute of their time with artistic activities. On top of everything they are disciplined and experienced in large scale productions. The combination of these features makes them an ideal team to act as hosts in the film series of their own design.

Their humorous and intellectually curious nature together with the genius of the guests will inevitably make the series a hit among a wide art and culture loving audience open to a different and experimental format of a show. In fact, the series will be much more than a new format of a show. It will be a full-blown cinema verité event interactive with the city and its residents, welcoming chance occurrences and thus creating a true portrait of a global city, of its people, and of our time.



It is important to note that the format we propose is not reality or on-the-fly documentary. We will shoot the scenes in accordance with a pre-designed script based on the ideas we would like to convey in a particular episode. This pre-script will consist of a detailed structure of the episode including live scenes, animated sequences, itinerary and subjects for the walks and talks, and dramaturgy with a beginning and an end. The filmed material will be sent to the editing station where the editing team will work under the guidance of the director to sort through it, select what works best for the episode, and arrange it in a new way synthesising and making the best of both the pre-script and the on-camera script (i.e.shot material). A single episode's length will be one hour. Number of episodes for the first season - from eight to ten


Distribution and promotion


We consider distribution on streaming platforms available to a worldwide audience. Most of the conversations will be conducted in English with an occasional intrusion of other languages such Turkish, French, Russian, etc. accompanied by subtitles. The series will be launched together with a carefully designed promotion campaign in various international film and art media so that we can start building up our audience immediately and grow it steadily as our presence takes on weight.

Creative Team


Dimitri Venkov

Series creator, director, and host



Co-producer and host



Art director and host


Pavel Filkov



Margarita Kariuk


Dimitri is a film auteur and video artist. His work has gained recognition in both film and art professional circles, has won awards at international film festivals, received art prizes, and has been shown across the world in theaters, art institutions, on streaming platforms, and TV networks.

Khollisy is a performance artist and painter. A colourful personality, she directs and acts in her own films and video performance art works. She has collaborated as an actress, art director, and co-writer with many artists filmmakers. Her own work has been shown internationally and became part of important contemporary art collections.

AhhA is a figurative painter of classical training and performance artist. She has acted and designed costumes and sets on her own artistic productions and has worked as an art director on other artists' films. 

Pavel is a cinematographer and multimedia artist. He was raised in a family of Russia Germans, whose ancestors came from Glauchau, Sachsen to the Russian Empire in early 20th century. He graduated from the Gerasimov University of Cinematography (VGIK) where he studied under Vadim Yusov, the famous cinematographer of Andrei Tarkovsky’s films. Pavel worked as a DP with many renowned filmmakers and video artists on short and feature films, documentaries, and commercials. 

Margarita is a film artist and cinematographer. She studied at the department of cinematography of the Gerasimov University of Cinematography (VGIK). Margarita has been the director of photography of many short and medium length films, and has worked on numerous feature film productions as AC and camera operator. Her cinematic interests touch upon questions of representation and the possibilities of the docufiction genre in achieving powerful dramatic effects of classical cinema through raw and unstaged material. 

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